Community members interested in getting a behind-the-scenes look into the Pullman Police Department can soon sign up for a 10-week Citizen Police Academy.
The Pullman Police Advisory Committee is working with Pullman PD to plan 10 sessions that will run 2.5 hours each. Department staff will lead the presentations, ranging in topics from code enforcement to public records, said committee chair Stephanie Rink.
“We’re going to try to touch on as many aspects of the Pullman Police Department and law enforcement as we can,” Pullman PD Chief Gary Jenkins said.
For example, patrol officers will talk about a typical day in their job. Jenkins said staff will also speak about criminal procedures, use of force and investigative processes.
During the academy, attendees will visit the firearm range to learn ways officers handle firearms, he said.
Rink said several residents during the Reimagining Public Safety in Pullman Virtual Summit in November expressed a need for more transparency about Pullman PD policies.
“The community places a lot of trust in us, so we have an obligation to show them that we act in a professional and ethical way,” Jenkins said.
A date is not set yet for the academy. However, the committee is aiming for fall. Committee members will test out the program during the summer, Rink said.
Jenkins said he hopes for the classes to be in-person with a virtual component as well. The new Pullman City Hall building is a potential location for the sessions because the police station does not have a meeting room to accommodate attendees while maintaining social distancing.
Participants should be able to join every session, Rink said. Some of the classes build on each other.
“We want to make sure that people understand it is a time commitment, even though we’re not charging anything,” Rink said.
Jenkins said he anticipates community interest in the program, and he hopes to accommodate as many individuals as possible. The number of participants will be limited to the meeting space and COVID-19 regulations.
The program is free to attend, and a registration form will be available on the Pullman PD website once it is ready for launch. Rink said the committee is still figuring out the age restrictions for participants.
The last Citizen Police Academy was held in 2007, Jenkins said. Previously, academies were hosted in conjunction with the WSU Police Department. This time, the university and Pullman PD will organize separate events.
The WSU PD Citizen Academy will not occur until next spring, Rink wrote in an email.
“We want our community to know what the police department offers,” Rink said. “We want to be an advocate for everybody.”